Jaguar Truths (Pt. 2)

Did you know jaguars are native to the United States?

They were once known to range as far north as the Red River region in Texas and extend their territory into Louisiana. After examining the evidence and studying the species for the last couple of decades, I believe there are jaguars in Texas right now or at least they are crossing into the state from New Mexico and Mexico.

Yes, I know that is controversial and the current wildlife guidebooks don’t show that but last time I checked animals don’t read maps and go where the darn well please.

Both New Mexico and Arizona have verified through a focused trail camera program the migration of numerous jaguars into both states. And when you consider how vast and uninhabited the Trans Pecos region is there is no reason for the cats not to exist there. In fact, it wouldn’t make sense if they were not there.

johnaudubon
John James Audubon’s rendering of a jaguar in Texas.

Additionally I have collected very reliable reports of jaguars from hunters in South Texas who were not seeking attention, just asking questions about what they were blown away to have seen. One very experienced hunter who wishes to remain anonymous told me of watching one through his scope for about five minutes walking down a sendero in Webb County.

There are many reports of “black panthers” in Texas annually and while I believe many of these can be attributed to the everything from feral house cats to the jaguarundi, another misunderstood and rarely known native cat, the possibility exists some reports could very well be jaguars.

There is no such species as a “black panther” but both leopards (native to Africa and Asia) produce black or melanistic offspring as do jaguars.

Kingdom Zoo is currently in search of jaguar sighting reports anywhere in the United States (particularly in Texas) as well game camera photos, historical records and newspaper clippings from the past. If you have any of the above, contact me at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com.

Chester Moore, Jr.

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